Greens turn up pressure in support of Chinese market gardens   15 MAY 12 @ 03:07PM BY STAFF WRITER, Southern Courier 

The Greens turned up the pressure today in support of the Chinese market gardens in La Perouse, in the lead up to next week’s contested vote on Randwick Council which will decide whether the land should be rezoned to primary production to protect the gardens from moves to expand Botany cemetery.

Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon, Greens Councilor for Randwick Murray Matson and Greens candidate for the South Ward James MacDonald visited the La Perouse market gardens and met with local gardeners Gordon Ha and Robert Teng.

Senator Rhiannon said: “Concrete has won out over food-growing land across most of Sydney”.

“The La Perouse plots have been farmed by families for over 80 years,” she said. “These market gardens must be valued and protected for the sake of food security and local heritage.

“Sydney is falling behind other major cities such as London and Toronto which have specific strategies to support urban food-growing.”

Mr MacDonald agreed with Senator Lee, and said that the residents of South Ward that he’d spoken to had all conveyed their dismay that the local resource is threatened.

“The destruction of the Chinese market gardens would be a devastating loss to local heritage,” he said.

“The council needs to make a firm commitment to protect this valuable contribution to local heritage.

“The best way to do that is with the RU4 zoning outlined in the draft LEP.

“Space shortages are a challenge which many cemeteries confront all across Sydney.

“This must be resolved, but not at the cost of a vital urban agriculture project with deep roots in the community.”

Australian Greens leader Christine Milne said: “At a time when we really need to focus on protecting food growing land close to cities, keeping these market gardens going should be a high priority”.

“The heritage considerations here are very important too,’’ she said. “These gardens are a key part of Sydney’s history and we should value that very highly.

“When our prime agricultural land is being threatened by coal mining and coal seam gas, market gardens in cities are vital for feeding people now and in the future.”